Hey guys Marc here from rtings.com and today
we are comparing the Cloud Flight to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 .
They are both decently affordable wireless gaming headsets, with a casual design you
can use outdoors. They also come with excellent boom mics for voice chat and multiplayer games.
However, both headphones are primarily made for PC and PS4 so they won’t be the ideal
choice for Xbox one owners. So should you get the HyperX or the SteelSeries
and are they worth it ? Well in this review we will compare their
design sound quality isolation and microphone as well as their active features and connectivity
but as always let’s start with what’s in the box.
So, inside the HyperX box, you get the Could Flight headphones, a micro USB charging cable
a regular 1/8TRS audio cable with no in-line remote, a USB transmitter dongle, a detachable
boom mic and the manuals. You get about the same content inside the
steel series box, so the micro USB charging cable a proprietary audio cable that ends
in a 1/8 connector USB Dongle transmitter and of course the Arctis 7 headphones. You
do not get an additional mic since the mic on of the Arctis 7 is not detachable but does
retract into the right ear cup which is nice. But now let’s get the boxes out of the way
and compare their design. So starting off with their build quality and
here the SteelSeries have the upper hand and are better built than the HyperX.
They have a nice metal frame that’s durable, ear cups that feel dense and well made, and
a cool elastic strap design that is a bit reminiscent of ski goggles. The earcups are
well padded with a nice breathable fabric that keeps your ears relatively cool even
during long gaming sessions. However, they’re a lot bulkier and heavier than the HyperX
and plastic hinge is not the sturdiest design compared to the rest of the build overall
tough, they feel durable and a bit more premium than the HyperX.
On the other hand, the HyperX have a more conventional over-ear design that will more
successfully pass as casual headphones when you remove their mic (and turn off the LED).
Their build quality is decently durable but mostly plastic and not as well made as the
SteelSeries and even some of the other HyperX headphones like the Cloud Alpha or the Cloud
II. On the upside the mostly plastic design makes them lightweight which helps give them
a slight edge in comfort. Here the lighter frame and more traditional
headband design of the HyperX makes them a bit more comfortable for most listeners than
the SteelSeries although not by much. They can accommodate easier for different
head shapes and sizes unlike the SteelSeries strap design which feels a bit tight on larger
heads since the frame itself doesn’t expand like typical over-ears. The HyperX also have
decently spacious and well-padded ear cups, they’re not quite as comfortable as some
of the other HyperX models like the Cloud II but overall, they should be comfortable
enough for most. The SteelSeries are also quite comfortable
mostly thanks to the well-padded ear cups. They have a good breathable cushion fabric
that feels nice on the skin however like previously mentioned they are a bit tight on larger heads,
so they won’t be as comfortable to ear for long gaming marathons since you may start
to feel a slight pinch after hours of listening. However, this won’t be the case for every
listeners and overall, they are comfortable enough for most.
Lastly for their control scheme and here the SteelSeries are a bit better than the HyperX.
They HyperX provide very basic gaming controls scheme. They have a volume dial and a microphone
button on the right ear cup to mute the mic. They also have a power button on the left
ear cup that cycles through the different led options: so ON all the time, or a breathing
pattern that flashes the lights and OFF which should be your preferred option since it almost
doubles their battery life. Unfortunately, that’s about it they do not have a channel
mixing dial to control the volume of your chat software and in-game audio. Like the
SteelSeries, Feedback on the volume dial is also not as good as the Arctis 7.
The Arctis in this case are one of the more ergonomic gaming headphones that we’ve tested.
Button layout is great, and all the boutons and dials feel well made and provide satisfying
feedback. The volume dial and microphone button are on the right ear cup and chat mixing dial
on the left. It’s a simple control scheme that will be easy to use for all gamers but
unfortunately like the Cloud Flight they do not provide a multipurpose button to use with
your phone. It’s not a big deal since they’re gaming headsets but since they also have a
casual design to use outdoors it would have been a nice addition.
So overall design wise the SteelSeries are better built and provide more control over
your gaming experience than the HyperX. They also look more premium. However, they are
tighter on some heads. They’re also heavier, and bulkier so if you’re going to be using
your headphones outdoors more than indoors then the HyperX maybe the better choice for
you. although their mostly plastic design doesn’t looks as good and isn’t as durable.
And that’s it for their design now let’s compare their sound quality isolation and
microphone performance with Sam. Both the Cloud Flight and the Arctis 7 are
very good sounding headphones, with very little between them. They sound quite neutral overall,
but the Cloud Flight tends to be a bit too sharp in the treble range and the Arctis 7
a bit too boomy and muddy in the bass range. But before discussing their sound in more
detail, let’s listen to a recording we have made with these headphones, so you can get
an idea about their differences for yourself. Just keep in mind that this is a relative
comparison, and not an absolute one. So, it is good for seeing which headphone has more
bass or treble for example, but you won’t be able to judge their actual sound profile.
And if you get one of these headphones and listen to the same track that we’ve used
here, you most likely won’t hear the same thing. So here we have the frequency response of the Cloud Flight on the left and the Arctis
7 on the right. As you can see both of them have a pretty extended bass, so they will
be able to produce the low thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music and video game
effects. The Cloud Flight has a couple of dBs more sub-bass than the Arctis 7, but this
is quite subtle and won’t be noticeable to most users.
The main difference in their bass is the bigger bump of the Arctis 7 in the high-bass region
which adds a bit of muddiness to the overall sound. The same thing is also true about their
mid-ranges. The HyperX have a 5dB dip in low-mid which thins out the vocals a little bit, but
this tends to create more room for the thump and punch of the bass range to come through.
The low-mid of the SteelSeries shows the continuation of the bump in high-bass, which adds a bit
of thickness to vocals makes the overall mix a bit cluttered. The treble of both of these
headphones is very well-balanced, but the Cloud Flight shows a big bump around 10KHz
which could make them a bit sibilant, that is, sharp and sizzly on S and T sounds.
Lastly, these headphones seem to be quite sensitive to positioning and their bass and
treble delivery can be affected by the shape and size of your head. The HyperX is pretty
consistent in the treble range but shows significant variation in the bass range across multiple
users. The SteelSeries on the other hand is less consistent in the treble range, but their
bass is more consistent across multiple users unless they wear glasses. But on the upside,
the Arctis 7 comes with a decent EQ, so you should be able to compensate for these variations.
Now for isolation and leakage, we have also recorded a comparison, which we’re going
to play now. First up, is isolation. Looking the isolation graph, you can see that
the isolation performance of these headphones is pretty similar throughout the range. They
don’t have active noise cancelling, so don’t provide any isolation in the bass range and
they won’t block the rumble of a truck outside for example. In the mid-range they do an average
job, so they can reduce outside chatter a little bit, but may not be enough for loud
places. You can always mask the noise by increasing the volume of your headphones a bit. They
perform well in the treble range though, so you don’t need to worry about hearing high
frequency noise, like the sound of a fan, through these headphones.
Now let’s listen to the leakage recording. Again, the leakage profile of these headphones
is quite similar, but the overall leakage level of the Arctis 7 is slightly quieter.
Neither of these headphones leak much in the bass and treble ranges, but they leak noticeably
in the mid-range. So if you don’t want to disturb anyone around you, make sure you are
not blasting the headphones, you don’t need to worry about leakage at moderate volumes.
Since both of these headphones are made for gaming, we’re going to discuss their microphone
quality as well. And like before, we have prepared a couple of recordings for you to
listen to. First, let’s listen to a recording done in a quiet environment. You’d probably agree that both the Cloud Flight and the Arctis 7 are great at recording
speech. Their response is nearly identical up to 2KHz. Both have a flat and extended
bass which is important for producing a full-bodied speech. Their flat mid-range means speech
will be quite natural on them and won’t sound too thick or too thin. The treble of
the Cloud Flight is hyped by about 5dB, which makes speech a bit bright. So, it won’t
sound neutral, but this may actually help it to cut through the game audio better. The
treble of the Arctis 7 though is overemphasized by more than 9dB. So, although this is good
for cutting through other sounds, it may be too bright or harsh for some. Also, both the
HyperX and the SteelSeries cut off around 6.5KHz, which is a limitation of their wireless
protocol. This means they will lack a bit of airiness in their sound, but this doesn’t
affect the intelligibility of speech and some users may not even notice it.
Now let’s listen to another recording to see how these microphones handle a
noisy environment. Again, both of these headphones are excellent
at separating speech from background noise and should basically be able to handle all
usage scenarios. However, the Cloud Flight achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 73dB,
which is by far the highest number we have recorded so far. This is because they come
with a powerful noise gate processor that we weren’t able to disable. If it was able
to turn off their noise gate, they would still perform very well and probably similarly to
the other headsets by HyperX, like the Cloud 2 or the Cloud Alpha.
Now let’s go back to Marc, for the active features.
Latency wise both headphones do very well. the HyperX have the slight edge but it’s only
an 8ms difference which isn’t that noticeable and within the margin of error for latency
test. They HyperX have 20ms of latency and the SteelSeries
28. This makes them great option for gaming and watching movies since you rarely have
any delay between audio and video even on high-frame rate content.
For their wireless range, here again both headphones do well and should have more than
enough range to compatibly game from your couch. The SteelSeries beat the HyperX in
direct line of sight, but both perform equally well in a normal condition when their dongle
is likely to be obstructed. Here the HyperX will reach up to 38ft and the SteelSeries
36 which should be enough for most use cases and gaming set ups. As for their battery life, and here again
both headphones have a similar performance: the steel series have the slight edge over
the HyperX. They lasted 24hrs vs the HyperX’s 29.6 however
they have better a power saving feature that will automatically turn the headphones when
in active for more than 10 minutes unlike the HyperX which enter a stand-by mode. Also,
if you use the LED lights of the HyperX while gaming their battery life takes a serious
hit. We tested them with the Led’s fully on and in this mode they will only last about
12.9 hours. but on the upside both headphones can play passively with their audio cable
when the battery dies, and you can use them while charging which is pretty convenient
if you’re gaming on your PC or next to a power source Unfortunately, there isn’t much competition
for their app support. The HyperX Cloud Flight does not have a dedicated software where as
Arctis 7 have excellent software support via the SteelSeries engine. It’s a customizable
and easy to use software that provides a great parametric equalizer with presets, DTS surround
sound, monitoring and volume control for the mic. You can also save your configuration
under the config tab to quickly switch between your different settings depending on the game.
It lacks some of the fancier auto-calibration features for their surround sound like some
of the other gaming software’s that we’ve tested but overall, it’s efficient, easy-to-use,
and well-made and adds a level of customization that feels lacking on the Cloud Flight.
Lastly for their connection options. And here the SteelSeries are a bit more versatile than
the HyperX. Both headphones come with a USB dongle although
the HyperX has a more traditional USB Stick where as the SteelSeries has a dongle that
has a bit more connections options. The transmitter will provide audio and chat support with a
PC and or PS4 however they will not have voice chat when connected to the Xbox One.
On the upside they both come with an audio cable that will provide audio when connected
to your console controllers or phone but only the Steel Series’ proprietary cable will
provide audio and mic support for both the PS4 and Xbox one controllers which is a bit
disappointing for the HyperX. So in the end which gaming headset should
you chose. Well for purely gaming the SteelSeries Arctis 7 are a little better than the HyperX
Cloud Flight. The SteelSeries have the better build quality
and a more premium design. They also have a bit more functions and a slightly better
sound that you can EQ thanks to their great software support. Unfortunately, they can
be a bit tight on some heads due to their unique headband design. They’re also a little
bulkier and opted for a retractable mic instead of a detachable one so they won’t look as
great to use outdoors. In this case if you’re looking for a headphone for both indoor gaming
and casual outdoors use then the HyperX Cloud Flight would be the better option. Their more
traditional over ear design will work for most they’re also deliver a sound quality
on par with more critical listening focused headphones. Unfortunately they do not have
as many connection options and features as the SteelSeries and their lack of a good software
is noticeable especially when gaming on PC. They also won’t have mic compatible with
your Xbox one even when wired which is not ideal for console gamers.
And that’s pretty much it. You can check out all of the measurements on our website.
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Thank you for watching and see you next time.